Every business needs a good tidying and updating at least once a year. The best time to do it is at the end of your tax year, which for many small businesses is the same as the calendar year. Get organized, review the data, and make your plans for a profitable 2020.

Weed out clutter.

Keeping old files around will only slow you down. Move anything that’s not current from your computer, desk and filing cabinet, into separate long-term storage. For digital files, it’s easy to put them on their own hard drive.

 Back up all digital data.

A computer crash or natural disaster could permanently erase all your records. What a nightmare that would be! Put copies of your business files in both external hard drives and cloud-based services.

 Digitize paperwork

Don’t wait until tax time to make sense of this mess. Scan tax documents to your Xendoo document storage portal and other important paperwork to a cloud storage provider. There are free resources such as google drive that offer cloud document storage. File documents according to tax year for optimal organization.

 Catch up on your bookkeeping.

What you want is a summary of your annual profits and losses, which you’ll use to make decisions for the coming year. Where do you need to trim expenses? How can you improve sales? If you have accounting software, it’s been tracking the numbers, so all you need to do is generate a report.

 Make tax-reducing moves.

Deductible expenditures — such as asset purchases and charitable donations — must be completed before the end of the year. (Ask your accountant for additional tax-saving ideas.) Check that you’ve made all your quarterly estimated income tax payments, to avoid incurring penalties.

 Optimize your supply sources.

Take a look at the companies that sold your business products and services over the past year. Keep the ones that are doing a good job and find replacements for the ones that aren’t (late deliveries, too high prices or whatever the problem is).

 Analyze return on investment.

Retailers, identify and discontinue slow selling products. Restaurateurs, remove non-selling dishes from the menu. You get the idea. Apply the same test to services your business uses. Does the cost of advertising justify the amount of new business it brings in? If not, it’s time to switch to cheaper media.

 Work smarter, not harder.

Are you making best use of your work time? Many small business owners get bogged down with routine tasks which could easily be delegated — or may not even be relevant anymore. As the company leader, you should be focused on activities that will move the business forward. To see where the problems lie, write down all your work-related activities and how much time you spend on each of them.

 Learn from your successes.

This annual business clean-up isn’t only about fixing what’s wrong, it’s also about recognizing what you did right. Make a list of your achievements in 2019: acquiring new customers, launching a new product, receiving great reviews on Yelp, giving your employees a raise, updating your website, learning something new, etc. Now figure out how to build on those positive steps for even more success in the year ahead.

 Call in help as needed.

It’s smart to know when you just can’t do it all yourself — either for lack of time or knowledge. For example, your bookkeeping may be months behind and there’s no way you can get it all caught up at once. That’s where outsourcing to a small business accounting specialist like Xendoo could be your best move. In fact, our catch-up service can clear even extreme backlogs fast, usually in less than two weeks.

Now that your business is all brushed up and caught up, you’re ready to ring in a new year of growth and success!